Saturday, July 30, 2011

Congratulations, Julie and Mark

Best wishes on your wedding anniversary.   I am sure you celebrated by wining and dancing.  We are joining your celebration by having red beans and rice, cornbread muffins and cantaloupe.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain of Pickens forces crew to get boot camp haircuts

We were just a few days away from San Francisco (1945).  We had been briefed and knew we would be there only long enough to take on troops and materiel before we went to Japan as the first invading force.  We were mostly young, many still teenagers, so our spirits were high because we would liberty somewhere than an empty island and there was a possibility of leaves.  Then came an order from the captain -- everyone must get a haircut. Not just a haircut but the kind we got in boot camp with our heads practically shaved.  We would be wearing ribbons and battle stars we had earned but with shaved heads we would seem to have just been released from the brig.  We protested; the chaplain and the executive officer even cursed the captain, but to no avail.  We lined up and had all our hair chopped off.  We knew the captain was a bastard but this was cruelty only an evil mind could conceive.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Awards and symbols of accomplishment can regain meaning

Among the massive amount of junk in our garage are boxes of small and large plaques earned by  one or the other of the former 4-H'ers in our family.  They would agree that the awarding of trophies was over-done and except for a few, such as for outstanding 4-H'er, are meaningless now.  However, I remember that for all of
them the winning of their first plaque was exciting  and a proud moment.  

Speaking of plaques I received my share of dust gatherers.  The early years of my time as editor of the Guardian-Journal I never considered entering contests sponsored by the Louisiana Press Association.  The one year I sent in some entries and to my surprise the newspaper received recognition and awards, including a first place plaque for Best Front Page. We sent entries in every year after that that I was editor, and the walls of the newspaper office was covered with plaques.  Many would consider a first for General Excellence the most distinctive, although the sweetest for me was the trophy for Best Editorial.  That editorial reflected a battle that was won for the people of the city, vital improvements to the light and water systems.

For several years after I left the paper, they kept plaques on the walls, finally taking  them down, later to replace with more modern awards.

If I have a point in this, it is that some trophies, using that word loosely, that I once never cared about have taken on a sentimental value now they they are misplaced or lost.  I am referring to items that have to do with the time I spent in the navy.  Norton Art Gallery, which recorded my oral history, posted pictures of those items I have lost.  They can be reached by searching for Roy Lowe navy and are my two honorable discharges, the notice of separation, the Astoria newspaper that reported on the dedication of the USS Pickens, the history of the ship, and a picture of me when I was in the navy.  The picture is all I have seen for several years.  I realize my family members have little interest in any of this now,  but World War II veterans are fast leaving us, and in the future these items could be interesting to others as they are to me now.  I have enjoyed establishing contact with some former shipmates and sons and grandsons of others.  I wish I could locate a shipmate who could send me a copy of the ship's history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remembering World War II veterans

I have just received some sand from the World War II Museum which I will keep as a tribute to those who fought on Pacific beaches. As VJ Day approaches, I hope others will remember the sacrifices many made for this nation.   Veterans are dieing and we must not forget them and what they did.  I hope the museum can soon receive donations to allow the completion of the campaign pavilion.   (The sand is from the beaches of Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa Chuuck, and Ponchartrain.)

I was not at any of these landings but I knew Marines that were, including a cousin, Cecil Roberts.Those victories put Japan on the defensive and allowed the United States time to build military strength and push on to final victory, the 66th anniversary to be observed August 14.

Unemployment is not getting better

In the more than two years since the stimulus went into effect, the United States has 1.9 million fewer Americans with jobs.  This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reportedt in February that 141.7 million people were employed.   By the end of May this year the number had fallen to 139.8 million, a difference of 1.9 million.

The employment situation is worse than those figures because an increase in jobs is necessary for this nation to enjoy prosperity.  More and more workers are losing their jobs while few new jobs are created.  The stimulus plan was an abysmal failure.

Another report is even more disturbing.  One in five American men are without jobs.  That is an unofficial unemployment rate, not just 9 per cent but 20 per cent.

I can't do anything personally but I do get angry.  Some company officials are  quoted as saying they have jobs available but cannot find workers with the skills needed so they move the jobs overseas.  Have people heard of training workers to fill the jobs?  Tool and die workers, for example, are not produced in a vacuum.. We have vocational technical schools; take advantage of what they offer.  Also, we can tailor training to fill jobs if they exist.  Our tax policies should favor the companies who provide jobs at home and penalize those who go overseas and employ shyster accounting to avoid paying taxes to the United States.  Hear me, big GE?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Permits for oil and gas drilling in Gulf would create jobs.

Any reader of this blog knows I have called time and again for drilling in the Gulf to be resumed in full.  We need the oil and gas and the jobs that have been lost, first by the moratorium and then by the refusal of this administration to grant permit.

Now an executive in the oil industry has pointed out that  a return to the oil and natural gas permitting levels of pre-2010 lead to an investment of more than 25 billion and create thousands of jobs, including 20,000 in Louisiana.  This investment and these jobs would not cost the government one dollar.

I say again as I've written many times, allowing full development of our energy resources could create hundreds of thousand of direct jobs, plus millions more.  While this administration opposes development of our resources, China is getting involved in energy development world wide.  China recently invested billions in Canadian oil sand, a resource this country once counted on.  It would not be a surprise if China began to acquire American energy resources while our government refuses to allow development by our country..

Sunday, July 24, 2011

66 Years Ago Pickens nears San Francisco

As I was preparing some pictures of the USS Pickens to mail and thus got to thinking about where the ship and we aboard her were at  this time 66 years ago.  We were likely about two weeks from Saipan and a little more than one week away from San Francisco.  About this time we were briefed on what was  in store for us.  We didn't need to be told that our next battle would be the final one, the invasion of Japan.  Also, after our experiences at Okinawa, we were not surprised when we were informed  that the navy expected 50 per cent casusalties.  To my mind that meant one of every two would not come back.  Although the ship would not stay long in San Francisco, there was promise of the possibility of some brief leaves.  If you have read what I wrote last August, you will already know that I wasn't one of  those who was among the fortunate ones.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wasting time in doctor's waitiing rooms

Have you given any thought to the millions of hours people are kept waiting by doctors?

I had an appointment at 2:30 Thursday with pain doctor.  Arrived at 2:15 as requested.  At 3:20 was taken to small room.  At 4:20 I left the room and walked the hall.  I saw open rooms and nurse personnel talking idly. I asked how long I was going to have to wait.  A few minutes later one of the nurse practitioners came to the room, spent five minutes, and wrote a prescription.  The doctor has it that I can't get medicine for my back unless I come in once a month and give him my co-pay while he tries to collect more from the insurance company.  I had to pay as soon as I arrived but could not get a receipt until I was leaving.  The stress was bad for my heart, which gave me pain all night.  There has to be a better way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Della comes home

When the bank failed to open its doors that black Monday in 1932, the entire proceeds of our cotton crop was lost.  Daddy was forced to sell cows, pigs and everything we could spare  -- including our mule Della.

Farm youngsters form attachments to horses and mules and even some cows, and Della was more than an acquaintance -- she was a friend.  When she was sold, I,  a six-year-old, couldn't understand , and I was broken hearted.

It was several weeks later that a mule came running through our yard and to the  lot gate.  Yes, it was Della. She had run along highways, across roads and woods and made her way over 15 miles to the place she had known as home.  I screamed, "Della came home, Della came home!"  My joy was soon smashed to bits as I learned she would have to be returned to her buyer.

For some weeks I lived with the hope that Della would come home again, but of course she did not, and I mourned for her a long time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picture of USS Pickens available

Note to sons and other descendent of  my shipmates on the USS Pickens.  I have a picture of the Pickens that is of fair quality.   If  you would like a copy, please write or email your address.  Best wishes, Roy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Haynesville shale recipients hold on to money

Hundred of millions of dollars have been paid out in Northwest   Louisiana in leases and royalties from the Haynesville shale operations, but the hoped-for economic boom has not yet occurred.  Some local governments are enjoying more income and there is some commercial growth, such as construction of some hotels, but no one so far has turned some of his millions into something that will create many jobs.  Maybe, the reason is that the people in the area now getting so much wealth never knew how to spend.

My dad used to tell of the rural couple in Claiborne parish who had come into money from leasing land as the Homer oil field developed around 1919.  The husband told his wife that they had received the money and he was going into town and wanted to know what they needed.  She thought for awhile and said, "Well, I guess what we could use a new axe."

Some of those getting money from the Haynesville shale may be like that couple.  My brother has a friend who leased a considerable acreage at a peak price.  He decided to spend some of  that money, went in to Shreveport and shopped.  When he returned he had purchased two hoe handles, one for himself and one for my brother.

I was served the world's worst hamburger

I had the worst hamburger I have ever tried to eat last night.  I'm  not a fan of going out to eat -- for three reasons -it is too much trouble; it is a waste of money, and the food is usually not that good.

We went to Applebees last night and I chose a hamburger.  My last visit there I had ordered a steak off  the low calorie menu, and it was  a disappointment.   I thought anybody can make a hamburger, so that's what I ordered.  When it came I had a thin piece of meat that was dry, hard, without juice, and flavor.  It was served on two pieces of flat, hard bread, with a tough piece of lettuce and thin slice of tomato -- no onions or pickles. I expected steak fries but got those fast-food type that were hard and tasteless.

That "meal" made me wish I was a food critic and could write about it; oh wait, I am writing about it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lowe Descendents Meet in Houston

Four of the five daughters and two of the three  sons of Jesse and Minnie Lowe, plus three spouses, were among those who gathered this past weekend in Houston for fellowship and food.  Also participating were nine members of the next generation, two spouses, and four grandchildren. Some arrived as early as Thursday and most were there for supper Friday night and everyone took part Saturday, July 16, which would have been  Jesse Lowe's 130th birthday.

This was the first time in a number of years that this many of the sons and daughters were together, although  they have been represented at some birthdays and weddings. 

The regular Lowe reunion is planned for Saturday,  August 6, at Lakeview Methodist Church in Minden.  Not many of this group will be able to attend.  This reunion was initiated more than 20 years ago through the primary efforts of Jen Lowe.  Terral Lowe took responsibility to keep it going for several years, and Peggy Cassells Merritt has handled that job in recent times.  Since most of those at the gathering this past weekend live far away, not many of us will be able to attend the reunion, although I expect to be there.

The top that almost took my eye

I had more than a few fights during my grammar school years, some the natural result of rough play, but others  forced on me by larger and older boys who enjoyed making two reluctant boys fight. Outside of a black eye or a bloody nose I was never hurt in those type of fights. The time I had a serious injury, almost losing an eye, was not a real fight.

There was a time when spinning tops was a popular game.  The wooden tops had a spike at the end and was spun by wrapping a string around it and yanking the string.  I walked up to join a group watching two boys warring with tops ( one would get his top spinning and the other would spin his top behind the first one and try to knock it down.)  Suddenly a boy walked up struck at my eye with his fist.  My eye stung like fire and blood began to cover my face.  He took off running but I caught him and hit him in the face.  Someone helped me across the grounds to the home economics cottage where the wound was taped and I was forced to lie down. Mr. Trout, the seventh grade teacher, came to check on me and he laughed as he said the boy already had a black eye and that I had his chased him down and given him another one. The cut was at the very edge of the bone above my eye.  A tiny fraction of an inch lower and the spike would have pierced my eye.

I don't recall ever getting the boy to give me a reason why he attacked me.  Since he already had a black eye, I could only surmise that from my back he might have thought I was the person who had beaten him.  I don't really know, though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two Lowe reunions planned for summer.

Descendants of Jesse and Minnie Lowe are having a reunion of sorts this weekend in Houston.  In the past we've been together only at weddings and birthdays, and now often for that.  Attending will be six of the eight  children and some of their children and grandchildren.  Our problem is that we are so widely scattered, from Florida to California and other states like Missouri, Tennessee and Maryland. ( We have celebrated Jen's and Lilly's birthdays this month.  Saturday is the 130th anniversay of Dad's birthday.)

The regular Lowe reunion for descendants of Thomas T. and Frances Lowe will be Saturday, August 6 at the Lakeview Methodist Church in Minden. T.T. Lowe was a veteran of the Ware Between the States, fighting in many battles, including Atlanta and Nashville, finally surrendering after the battle a Bentonville, N.C.

Hot, Hot Drouth Causes Discomfort

Is this extraordinary heat, even for July, caused by all the hot air being blasted from Washington?

Yesterday I went to Brookshires to pick up a prescription and when the heat hit me, I got dizzy and weak and worried whether I could make it to the cool air in the store.

I didn't even try to have a garden this year, but didn't intend to let my few flowers fade away and my lawn die, but I have just given up.  The next plants to give up could be the big trees in the backyard.  The dogwood died in last summer's dry spell.

As a kid on the farm I worked in this kind of weather and  then had to try to sleep in a hot house.  I remember that sometimes we would learn of a neighbor passing out in the field.  At least now most people who must work outside in this oven can  sleep in a cool house.  Thank the Lord for air conditioning.  Old people are especially in danger if they don't have fans at least.

Monday, July 11, 2011

August 3 -- just hearing that date brings back memories

I got a call from the doctor's office reminding me that Dr. Davis, after our session in June, wanted to see me again in a month to decide on a heart cath, which he recommends.  The appointment is set for August 3. That date kept staying in my mind and I decided it must have a special meaning.  I checked the postings in August of last year and there it was -- that day the USS Pickens arrived in San Francisco to take on troops for the first phase of the invasion of Japan.

It is only in the last few years that I gave any thought to the time I spent in service.  Like other aspects of my life, it was past and only the present and future interested me.  Now I have thought about it a lot and I have enjoyed becoming acquainted with some former shipmates and sons and grandsons of  shipmates.  About this time in July we had been to Noumea, New Caledonia,(last year I reported on my wild experience there) crossed the equator, been initiated as shell backs, and were on our way from Saipan to San Francisco.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We CAN compete and We MUST compete with the world

During one of my less alert moments I got roped in to serve on a Gallup panel, responding to all types of surveys, the first of which I completed today.  You can imagine the type of questions -- do I think the nation is on the right track; am I satisfied with  Barack's performance; the same for Congress.  In assessing our worst problems I gave high scores to our debit and our debt, but I reserved the highest mark for our lack of job creation.  If we can provide jobs the problem with our finances will improve, too.

How do we assist the private sector in adding jobs?  To start, we know that everything the Obama team has done, including the stimulus, has not succeeded.  While most jobs are created by small businesses, these operations need the major corporations as suppliers and customers.  We must make it more profitable for corporations to operate in this country than overseas, bringing jobs back home.  Once we could not compete for certain jobs because of the difference in wages.  But now, start up an auto assembly plant and offer even l2 to 15 dollars an hour and watch thousands apply.

I have been screaming for months that we should work to become self-sufficient in energy. That would put millions to work.  There are ways we can make conditions favorable to job creation.  We must be willing and determined to act.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy birthday, Lily

I wish we could be there to help you celebrate your second birthday.  We were there when you were born and we were there for your first birthday.  We really got acquainted those days we spent with you the week of your birthday.  Maybe we'll be able to see you and talk to you by skype.  We'll save our hugs for later. Love you.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Times editorial writer responds to my blog on four day week

A Shreveport Times editorial writer was searching for articles on four-day weeks and came across my blog. He questioned me about my background and my ideas about working four days.  I have no problem with weeks of four ten-hour days, if the job is such that it can be done as well as five eight-hour days.

(The lead editorial in Sunday's Times concluded with a quote from my blog on "An educator who gets it.)

Jessica reports on mission trip

Jessica texted me at 8 this morning.  She had a few minutes before given a devotional to around 70 persons.  The mission team has devotionals each morning  before breakfast. I called her at noon her time.  The team had finished work for the morning and will return to work after lunch.  Jessica said conditions have improved but they still have meals when the youths work hard all day and find that insufficient food has been provided.  They continue to live in barn-like building with only one door, no air conditioning and only cold water in which to bathe.

They have certainly earned  a break and will visit Dollywood, go white water rafting, and leave Monday to return home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An educator who gets it

Dartman Jackson resigned as superintendent of Sabine parish schools when the school board overrode his requirement that central office employees work on Friday.  Jackson's comment  on workers putting in only four days work for five days pay impressed me. He said, "I just don't understand it.  We"re not special.  We're educators  We're  just in a different class of workers but we 're no better than the general public."

It is time all public employees, national, state and local, recognize this.  Those school workers should also realize that if five workers can get all of the tasks done in four days, then four workers can do it if five days, thus leading to the dismissal of one employee.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is it time to abandon trial by jury?

We often say our criminal justice system is not perfect but it is better than any other system.  When a jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her daughter many question not only that verdict but trial by jury itself. Some are calling it the worst verdict since the O. J. Simpson trial. That verdict had a race component that this did not have.

Perhaps we should require jurors to give written reasons why they voted guilty or not guilty.  Some questions the Anthony jurors might be asked are -- if Casey didn't kill her daughter Caylee, who did and who dumped her body in the swamp?  Why was Casey celebrating, calling herself happy and getting a tattoo declaring her life now being so good while telling lie after lie about where Caylee was?

That old saying is true -- don't bet on what a jury will do or who a woman will marry.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Here's wishing a happy and safe July Fourth to everyone.

Don't forget to fly your flag!

I've been trying to remember the July Fourths of my youth.  Some joyful times we went fishing, always on Dorcheat bayou. I even remember the first fish I caught, a small perch.  When the cork went under I jerked the pole up so hard and high the fish, hook and line ended up in a tree.

Most Fourths we ended with  hand-cranked freezer of ice cream.  Of course, the prime watermelon season was upon us and we enjoyed those.  I've also spent July Fourth plowing or hoeing if we were behind with the crops. For 20 years I edited a weekly paper and we only took the Fourth as a holiday if it came on Friday or Saturday. If it fell on the early days of the week we would work and take a weekend day for the holiday.

Speaking of  flags earlier, I wonder the Homer American Legion Post still posts flags around the square on holidays.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stay away from stinging insects, Jessica

Jessica left at 8:30 this morning with a group of senior high youths to spend a week doing missionary service in Appalachia.  A lot of hard work and the satisfaction of helping others is in store.  I hope Jessica can avoid fire ants on this trip.  She was stung on each ankle and had an allergic reaction when she took junior high youth to Florida for a week of service..  The fire ant bites as  well as stings but it is the sting that causes the pain and reactions.  When bees sting they sacrifice their lives; not so the fire ant. It can sting, sting again, and go sting some more without harm to itself.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?

Remembering my time with the Homer Lions Club

I saw in the Guardian-Journal that the Homer Lions Club is celebrating its 85th year of service.  This comes at a time when many service clubs are disbanding after many years.  Pictured were five of the many Lions who had served as president -- Elmer Poss, Vernon James,  Mike McKean, Pete Pearson and Carroll Dowies. Although I knew four of these people well for many years I could not recognize any of them from the picture. For 20 years I attended Lions meetings at noon on Thursdays twice a month and was happy to serve in various offices including the presidency.  The Lions club was a leader in service to the community, acting as a chamber of commerce until that organization was formed, again led by the Lions club. Congratulations to the club and present and past members.

Happy Birthday, Jen!

Do not think of 60 as getting old; it is the time to begin enjoying life to the fullest.